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Hidden risk: Russian snooping near undersea communications cables

U.S. Navy ship
A U.S. Navy ship anchored at Israel's Haifa port. Photo: Jack Guez / AFP via Getty Images

"Russian ships are skulking around underwater communications cables, causing the U.S. and its allies to worry the Kremlin might be taking information warfare to new depths," AP's Deb Riechmann reports.

The gritty details: "U.S. and Western officials are increasingly troubled by their rival's interest in the 400 fiber-optic cables that carry most of world's calls, emails and texts, as well as $10 trillion worth of daily financial transactions."

  • Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the U.S. European Command, told Congress: "We've seen activity in the Russian navy ... that we haven't seen since the '80s."
  • Some possible explanations: "Is Moscow interested in cutting or tapping the cables? Does it want the West to worry it might?"
  • Michael Kofman, a Russian military expert at nonprofit research group CNA Corp., said the Russians "are doing their homework and, in the event of a crisis or conflict with them, they might do rotten things to us."
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